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Chelsea Green Blog

The Economic Crisis + Peak Oil = An Age of Relocalization?

The financial meltdown, the credit crisis, and ensuing economic contraction—it can all be traced back to peak oil. Author Julian Darley, who knows a thing or two about dwindling resources, believes that high oil prices—caused by supply constraints not meeting demand—are the real cause of the economic crash, and until our new president and his administration face facts, they’ll just be fighting the symptoms rather than the disease.

America and the world wakes this morning to a landscape of new possibilities. We also wake up to a daunting list of problems, most of which are now well known. Yet still there is one problem that was never mentioned by either presidential candidate, no doubt for their own good reasons. The problem is one that has been waiting in the wings since 1859. Or 1846 if you live in Russia. These are the dates of the first oil wells in the world, and they mark the beginning of our dependence on oil, a dependence which is now being forced into reverse. Peak oil and decline has to become a dominant factor in political and business planning because otherwise, the wrong remedies are going to be applied to the wrong causal diagnosis. The world headlines this morning helpfully remind Obama and his new team that they face some severe economic woes. I am sure they are very grateful for that information. What they need to hear about are the underlying reasons for the financial meltdown, the credit crisis and ensuing economic contraction. Jeff Rubin, of CIBC, makes the case strongly in a recent report, that high oil prices – caused by supply constraints not meeting demand – are the real cause of the economic crash. The chart shows that all but one of the last five recessions have followed sharp rises in oil prices. Obama’s new economic advisers will surely also be looking at such graphs, but will they notice how dramatically different the 21st century price rise curve is, and will they ask why? Unless they do, it seems likely that we see economic alchemy being practiced rather than economic realism. In the past that has lead to exuberance and temporary consumer happiness. This time will be different.

Read the whole article here.

Use Systems Thinking to Make Lasting Social Change

What can be done when our best intentions create unintended problems—such as temporary shelters increasing homelessness or food aid accelerating starvation?After decades of helping change-makers in the nonprofit, public, and private sectors address tough social problems, systems-thinking expert David Stroh shares the pioneering framework that both demystifies systems thinking and shows how it can lead […] Read More..

Let’s Make Bernie Sanders a Bestseller!

As the presidential campaign of Bernie Sanders continues to climb in the polls, crushing online fundraising records and frustrating party insiders and pundits along the way, we’re looking to put Bernie’s message on bestseller lists everywhere in time for the national debates this fall!With the second Democratic debate to be held on November 14th in Des Moines, it’s […] Read More..

Bern Baby Bern!

Feel the Bern, now read the Bern. Chelsea Green is bringing out the first major book chronicling the issues being raised by US Senator Bernie Sanders in his campaign for president of the United States. The Essential Bernie Sanders and His Vision for America is the only book that outlines, in Sanders’ own words and […] Read More..

Economic Development is Broken. Here’s How to Fix It

Economic development today is completely broken. That’s the argument of author Michael Shuman in his new book, The Local Economy Solution. The singular focus on attracting global corporations is not just ineffective but counterproductive, Shuman argues, especially given the huge opportunity costs. Indeed, it’s not far-fetched to suggest that the best way most communities can […] Read More..

5 Shareable Strategies for Creating Climate Action

Frustrated about climate change? You’re not alone. Most people in our society find themselves somewhere on the spectrum of depressed about our climate situation to flat-out denying that it exists. In fact, the more information about global warming that piles up, the less we seem to do to combat it. What is the reason for this […] Read More..
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